Hi! Jinja here again, and I’m glad to say that I’m in a better frame of mind than I was at the beginning of my first story. I still haven’t been able to work out how Rosie was brought back to me. But I won’t question why or how; it’s not good to question things like that. Ellen’s still angry with me for loving Rosie! Now that’s one thing I can’t work out, why should one horse hate another because they love a person that he or she disapproves of. I think Ellen was being possessive, have I got the right word? Well, she was doing something wrong anyway. Ellen was kicking her door as I dictated this. She was swearing at the top of her voice saying something like:
“I’ll smash you into the Earth Jinja!” I ignore her until she erupts from her box in a blazing fury! ERR, hang on, um, oh dear, err, better run! Ellen’s coming after me!
JINJA POUNDS ACROSS THE YARD, JUMPS A FENCE AND ENDS UP IN A FIELD.
“Phew out run her!” Collapsing on the grass I contemplate my position.
“Ellen’s furious with me for even thinking of Rosie. Why is this? Is there something I am doing wrong, or is Ellen being stupid? And what if we get into a fight over this? I’ll lose, bound to, Ellen’s bigger and stronger than me!” These thoughts did nothing to cheer the situation. I sprang to my feet and walked off across the field towards the yard. I must have been walking with my eyes closed because I failed to see the danger I was walking into. Ellen was standing on the other side of the fence as I approached the gate. As I passed she grabbed my right ear in her teeth and bit down hard! I yelled with pain and attempted to beat her off.
“Stupid move Jinja!” I thought. But my body was telling me to fight her! The pain was so intense that I kept on struggling despite the ripping sensation from my ear. When Ellen let me go I flopped onto the grass and lay panting for breath.
“You will never know how much I hate you Jinja!!” she screamed. I felt like retaliating with:
“And you’ll never know how much I love Rosie!” but I thought better of it. My ear hurt like hell! I looked up into Ellen’s face trying to plead with her to understand why I felt the way I did.
“Can’t you see why I love Rosie?” I asked. Ellen shook her head.
“No, I can’t see why. Rosie’s dead anyway, and there’s no point in loving a horse that’s dead Jinja.” I was so upset by her words that I leapt at her, bad move! Ellen whipped round and kicked me! At first I had no idea what had hit me! All I knew was that one-minute I was standing and the next I was falling! I hit the ground on my shoulder. I thought,
“What‘s going on!” I rolled over and over in the grass with the momentum of my fall. I lay on the grass recovering from my tumble. I heard Ellen jump the fence and come towards me. She placed one huge fore foot on my ribs making it impossible for me to rise. She pressed my chest until I was nearly suffocated!
“Ellen! Ellen! Don’t crush me!” I pleaded. Ellen’s reply was so colourful that it would shock you if I printed it! I think the gist of it was that I had no right to love Rosie because I was a different breed to her! Basically Ellen was being racist in the extreme. I had thought until then, that no horse could talk to another in that manner. But Ellen was blowing those theories out of the water one by one. Ellen rocked back and forth on my chest until I was almost dead! Mercifully I knew none of this because I had passed out.
The next thing I knew was a nose brushing mine. Dimly I wondered who could be rubbing my nose:
“ Rosie maybe? Perhaps I’m dead and have joined Rosie.” I thought. Then I knew suddenly that I wasn’t in heaven, no, hell more like and Ellen was going to put the hoof in! I began to sob as I thought of the pain I had already gone through. I pleaded aloud with her,
“Ellen, please don’t hurt me!” this sounded foalish I can tell you. A voice I didn’t recognise said:
“Hey Jinja, it’s all right.” I noticed the lack of familiarity in the horse’s tone. “Not Rosie, clover or Ruby.” I concluded.
“What? Who?” I croaked. The mystery horse laughed,
“My name’s Beyancca.” She said.
“Beyancca? Beyancca?” I puzzled over Beyancca’s status and where she lived for a few minutes before she put me out of my pain.
“I live in “Fleur’s street” as it’s called.” Beyancca said. I made an effort to rise but Beyancca pushed me back gently.
“Don’t move Jinja. You’re bruised and battered,” she said.
“Thanks for the good news.” I thought. Beyancca noticed my hesitation and remarked gently:
“Sorry, but that was need to know.” I laughed and wished I hadn’t.
“I know Beyancca, I know.” I replied. Beyancca smiled suddenly.
“Looks like I got here just in time.” She said.
“What?” I asked.
“Ellen was beating the, well, you know what, out of you Jinja.” Beyancca replied. I asked:
“Where’s Rosie?” Beyancca’s expression told me that my question had hit her hard.
“Oh, I, I remember now.” I said. Beyancca wept as she remembered Rosie.
“I miss her more than I can tell you Jinja.” She sobbed. I struggled to my feet and hugged her. I said gently
“I know Rosie wouldn’t want you to cry Beyancca.”
“I know Jinja, but it’s not easy. You know that more than anybody.” Beyancca replied. There was a rustling sound behind Beyancca’s right shoulder. She didn’t see who’d arrived, but I did. Rosie stood quietly watching us. She had a huge grin on her face. Rosie thumped Beyancca’s shoulder with her nose. Beyancca jumped a mile and whipped round! She stared at Rosie in astonishment!
“Rosie?” she asked.
“Yes Beyancca, I think I am anyway.” Rosie replied. Beyancca opened her mouth to question Rosie. Rosie hushed her with one glance.
“Don’t question me Beyancca. Please leave it for now.” She said quietly. I rubbed both Rosie’s and Beyancca’s noses with mine. Rosie laughed,
“You’re so open with your emotions Jinja.” She said. I laughed along with her and hugged her tightly.
“That shows more than words ever could express.” Beyancca thought. She shook herself from nose to tail.
“So what’re we gonn’a do about Ellen?” Beyancca asked. Rosie turned away and spat on the ground in disgust.
“I know I’m supposed to be related to her, but, I can’t abide that horse!” she yelled. Ellen heard Rosie’s shouts and came running over in a thunderous fury!
“Well Rosie, Jessie or whoever you are. I hate you, Jinja and any other horse that is associated with you!” she yelled. I think I would have reacted like that if I had been told that I was mud. But Ellen had nearly killed me, perhaps that was why Rosie had said what she had. Ellen was furious anyway. She took out her frustration on poor Beyancca who had nothing to do with the causes of her anger! I yelled at her to,
“Stop! Beyancca’s nothing to do with me or Rosie, hit us if you have to hit anyone. Just leave Beyancca out of this!” I pleaded. By this time however Beyancca was getting the worst of it. She lay on the ground panting for breath and feeling more frightened than she had ever before.
“You should have kept your long nose out of our business Beyancca!” Ellen screamed. Beyancca pleaded with the large Irish Draft mare for mercy.
“PLEASE, Ellen, let me go! I’m only young, I’m not ready to die yet!” she whimpered. Ellen was merciless however! Ellen performed the same move on Beyancca that she had on me. She pinned Beyancca down on the grass. Ellen squeezed the air out of Beyancca’s body. As she pressed her attack home Beyancca tried to scream for help. The attack took place faster than you could read this description.
Rosie saved Beyancca’s life. Rosie blew in like a Tornado! She beat her distant relation off of Beyancca with ruthless force. Ellen was flattened under Rosie’s onslaught! Rosie would have killed Ellen if the Manageress had not appeared just in time to avert disaster! I wondered what made the Manageress’s instinct for trouble so acute, perhaps she knew horses better than horses themselves did. Wherever there was a major disturbance the Manageress could be found sorting it out either with diplomacy or if that fails, well the word is more like “lungeing whip.” You must understand that the whip was only used in life and death situations like the one we had then.
The Manageress waded into the fight and the whip fell with rapidity. Ellen and Rosie were separated, Ellen was taught a stern lesson with the whip while the Manageress screamed at Rosie!
“What the hell do you think you were doing!” she asked. Rosie turned towards Beyancca and explained about the beginnings of the fight. Ellen ran off and made herself scarce. The Manageress hugged Beyancca and stroked her ears. Beyancca couldn’t resist the chance to take advantage of the situation. She leaned her head on the Manageress’s shoulder and closed her eyes. Beyancca rubbed her nose against the Manageress’s shoulder until she got what she wanted. All Beyancca really wanted was a lot of fuss to be made of her! After the bashing she received from Ellen, Beyancca wanted a little of the human touch. All horses love being stroked, no matter what they may say to the contrary.
Beyancca relaxed, resting her considerable weight on the Manageress’s shoulder. The Manageress is an excellent stable owner, the yard’s reputation for fine horses and well-trained riders was known throughout Suffolk. But there was one thing that no human, not even the Manageress could do. The Manageress could not cradle one and a half tonnes of horse on one shoulder. Because of this Beyancca had to stand on her own four feet rather than rest her full weight on the Manageress’s shoulder. The Manageress straightened slowly and stared Beyancca in the eye.
“Taking it a little too far don’t you think Beyancca?” she asked. Beyancca knew when she was being told off, and now was such a time.
“Yes, I suppose I was, sorry.” She replied. The Manageress strode away, her lungeing whip following her. I thought for one mad minute:
“I wonder if the whip has it’s own personality, it seems to.” No! Hang on Jinja! You’ve finally lost it mate! Oh dear, the psychologist beckons! Err, I didn’t say that. Oh no! the typist has already written it down. If the Manageress sees this she’ll think I’ve flipped! I haven’t flipped, promise!
What have I said, or thought in the last few hours? Has the typist written it all down? Why do we horses always tell these humans what we’re thinking? Second thoughts, although I don’t know why I’m telling you this, the bloody typist will only write it down. Well, don’t answer that last question, okay! Phew! That madness is over and done with. Can we get on with the story now? Yes? Good.
Beyancca, Rosie and I watched the Manageress and her whip depart towards her house. Rosie turned towards Beyancca and smiled at her. Beyancca looked long and hard at her leader.
“Are you still leader of the herd Rosie?” she asked. Rosie looked away.
“If you want me to be Beyancca.” She said faintly. Beyancca fought back tears.
“I don’t know why I feel sad.” She said. I hugged her,
“Come on Beyancca dear. Don’t cry dear.” I said. Rosie rubbed her nose against Beyancca’s.
“Look Beyancca, I know you’re chewed up about what happened to my old body but it’s no matter now. I’m all right now, couldn’t be better in fact.” Rosie reassured her. I walked over to the gate, opened it and walked out into the yard. Rosie and Beyancca followed me. We walked up the yard towards Rosie’s old box. As I have already said, a Chestnut horse named Crofter now occupies Rosie’s box. I have heard that he’s a bad tempered horse who never seems to cheer up. I think I’ll keep out of his way. We reached Crofter’s box and looked in. Crofter was eating straw and taking no interest in what was going on around him. Beyancca commented on Crofter’s lack of enthusiasm. Crofter lost his already badly worn temper! He screamed at her!
“Shut your mouth! Shut up! Don’t say another word! If you do I’ll break your neck!” he shook his hoof at her. We withdrew a safe distance from any flying hooves. Crofter kicked his door with fervour. We turned away and left Crofter to his stupid games. Fleur caught sight of us and almost passed out when she recognised Rosie!
“Rosie, am I seeing things? If I am then I’ll have to get help for my problems.” Rosie laughed,
“No, I don’t think you’re seeing things.” Another horse took an increasing interest in us. I hadn’t met this one before. He is a French racehorse; his nameplate said “Digby.” The horse called Digby pulled at his strawnet with enthusiasm. I was standing beside his door talking with Fleur when I noticed that Digby was rubbing his nose against my shoulder. Misty looked sharply at Digby.
“Oi! Digby! Stop rubbing your nose against Jinja’s shoulder!” she snapped. Digby jumped a mile and withdrew into his box.
“Hey, what! What’s the matter?” he asked. Misty was furious with him.
“You don’t ever rub yourself against another horse without permission!”
“I’m sorry Jinja.” Digby said contritely. I believed him. Misty stamped her foot in warning to the French racehorse. I felt Misty was being very harsh. I know that Digby was only being friendly. I rubbed Digby’s nose with mine.
“Don’t worry about Misty.” I reassured him. Digby smiled at me.
“Yes, I know.” He said. Candy poked her head out of her box and made eye contact with Digby.
“Just be yourself Digby.” She said. Misty lost her temper with Candy!
“Why are you all ganging up on me?” she asked.
“I thought Domino was the unreasonable one. Now I see that you’re of the same mind!” Beyancca said. Misty screamed at her! Beyancca laid her ears back and snapped back at Misty! Digby laid his ears back, in fact the whole street fell into discontent within three minutes. The Manageress came round the corner into the street. What a time to arrive, just as the anger was mounting. She came round to each of us soothing the tension from the air. Misty plunged about her box in a most uncharacteristic fury! The Manageress tied Misty to the box wall with a rope attached to a head collar and tried to soothe her worn temper. Beyancca lay down on her straw bed and closed her eyes.
“I’m going to sleep for a bit.” She said. I heard the straw rustle as she settled down. Beyancca sighed as she slipped away. I looked at Rosie and signalled to her that I wanted to leave the street with her. We left as quietly as we could and retired to a nearby field to get away from the rest of the horses.
“Jinja, why was Beyancca rubbing her nose against yours as I arrived?” I told her about my fight with Ellen.
“So Ellen feels that you shouldn’t have grieved for me?” Rosie asked.
“Yes I’m afraid she does seem to feel that way Rosie my love.” Rosie raised her head and whinnied at the top of her voice!
“We’re in a loving relationship, in fact we’re married! I’m going to teach Ellen a lesson she’ll never forget!” I tried to calm my wife down.
“Rosie darling, please calm down my dear.” I said gently. Rosie said quickly,
“Ellen nearly killed you, and, what happened to me cannot happen again, and, how did it happen? I mean what started the fight?” I told her about Ellen’s comments.
“I hate Ellen more than I can tell you!” Rosie screamed. I nuzzled her shoulder trying to calm her nerves.
“That new race horse is a funny chap isn’t he.” Rosie remarked.
“Who? Digby? No, he’s no different to the rest of us. A bit overfriendly perhaps.” I replied. I looked up as the sound of horseshoes on concrete reached my ears. I saw Beyancca coming round the end of the stable block towards us. She looked frustrated and strangely, well, frightened I think. The look in her eyes told me that all was not well.
“What’s happened?” my spirits had hit the grass the minute I set eyes on her. Beyancca seemed incapable of speech. She just stared at us, utter fear and terror in her face! Rosie was becoming frightened herself. She asked forcefully.
“What’s going on Beyancca? If you don’t tell us we can’t help!” This tone was not what Poor Beyancca needed. She buried her head in my shoulder, her whole body shaking violently! Suddenly Beyancca’s legs collapsed beneath her and she fell onto the grass. To my eye it looked as if Beyancca had suffered a massive shock to her system. The problem was that now she was out cold on the grass I couldn’t go on anything more than guesswork as to what happened to make her react in this manner. I had a sudden urge to see what was going on!
“Stay with Beyancca Rosie. I’m going to take a look at the situation.” To my surprise Rosie shook her head.
“No, no deal. You wait here, I’ll go.” Rosie replied. Rosie left Beyancca and I alone in the field. Beyancca lay on the grass shivering violently. I nuzzled her shoulder trying to provoke a reaction. Beyancca raised her head and wailed with fear and terror!
“Ellen, she, she, she attacked us, all of us! All of us, dead.” She sobbed. Rosie came tearing back then!
“Jinja, it’s worse than I’ve ever seen!” she said quickly.
“Rosie, please calm down, what’s happened? Beyancca was telling me something about all the horses in Fleur’s street being dead!” I asked. Rosie shook her head and collapsed against me.
“Yes, well, Beyancca’s sort of right. What’s happened is that Ellen went on the rampage kicking and beating the living daylights out of all the horses she could reach. Fleur, Brydy, Digby, even Misty! She kicked them all until they complied with her demands.”
“What were they?” I asked.
“That they disown us Jinja. Ellen does not like the way the horses in the yard grieved for me! Now Ellen has endangered many other horses lives. I will be sad forever if any horse comes to permanent harm because of her actions.” Rosie hugged Beyancca and helped her to her feet. We trailed towards the yard and walked into Fleur’s street. The Manageress and a team of vets were attending to the injured horses.
All the box doors were open, they showed all the damage in graphic detail. Digby caught my eye.
“She flattened us Jinja!” he sobbed.
“How badly are you injured?” I asked. Digby moved and screwed up his face in agony!
“Bruising, and, who knows what else!” he said. I walked among the panic-stricken horses trying to gauge the extent of the damage myself. I stared at the box doors, or what was left of them. Ellen had destroyed them to reach the horses inside. I looked down at Misty lying on the straw. The vet had doped her to the eyeballs.
“Misty? Can you hear me?” I asked. Misty opened her eyes and focused on my face. She tried to speak, to tell me what had happened.
“Ellen, she, she hit us Jinj’! Didn’t like grief, said no grief should be shown for Rosie, none at all. Then she, Ellen came to each of us, she said she would kill us all, then we would have what we ultimately wanted. She started kicking stable doors and then kicking the horses Jinja!” Tears rolled down Misty’s nose as she remembered the pain she had been put through. I nuzzled Misty’s shoulder and told her that all would be fine.
The Manageress had thrown Ellen into a box and double bolted the door. Ellen thumped and battered the door with all her force but the door held fast, thank goodness! I dread to think what the consequences would have been if Ellen had managed to escape.
That night I couldn’t sleep, neither could Rosie or Beyancca, we were all thinking of the horses that had been injured by Ellen’s five minutes of madness. Ruby, Clover and all the horses that lived in that street were shut in and their doors were bolted top and bottom. This was much to Crofter’s annoyance.
“Why has the Manageress done this? What’s the point?” he complained.
“Do you want to end up dead?” Ruby asked.
“No, not really.” Crofter replied.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the Manageress gets rid of Ellen after what she’s done, now go to sleep.” Ruby said. Crofter did try to sleep. But he couldn’t. Crofter was unnerved by Ellen’s actions. He was haunted by visions of Ellen smashing the life out of other horses. He would close his eyes and settle down for a few minutes, but then the nightmare would come back and he would spring to his feet screaming and yelling. Ruby became tired of Crofter’s raving.
“Crofter! Shut up will you!” Crofter gabbled out his fears, this made ruby angry!
“You’re a stupid horse Crofter! You’re acting like a foal over this! Ellen’s locked up, she’s not going to harm you, can’t you see that?” she shouted. Crofter wailed with fear!
“Shut up Crofter! What’s the meaning of this bloody racket!” Clover asked crossly. Crofter raised his head and whinnied:
“Ellen’s going to destroy us all!” Ruby lost her temper yet again and smashed her door in frustration. Crofter’s fear got the better of him and he started screaming and yelling!
“Why is there so much madness in the world? Why can’t we just live our lives in peace? Why did the Manageress buy Ellen in the first place? Now Ellen’s beating the life out of the yard! She’s got to stop this!” Ruby kicked at Crofter’s door until it gave way! She stood Full Square in front of Crofter threatening him! You see, Ruby had gone beyond fury and was now capable of anything. Clover’s anger was just skin deep and had nothing like the same hold on her. Clover came to Crofter’s rescue much as she had to mine. She told Ruby to leave Crofter alone in no uncertain terms. For some reason Ruby respected her. Clover’s not violent, I don’t even think she knows the meaning of the word. While on the other hand, Ruby has a temper that she sometimes has trouble controlling. This could and sometimes has led to acts of violence on her part. Clover launched a flying kick at the top door on her box and broke the lock. The door crashed back against the wall and Clover thrust her head out.
Unfortunately for Clover the Manageress came round the corner at that moment. She watched in amazement as the stable door flew open and Clover catapulted into the opening! The Manageress also took note of Ruby’s aggressive posture and of Crofter’s terrified expression. It sounds as if they were carved in stone doesn’t it? Well, for a few seconds all three horses stood absolutely still from shock at the Manageress’s sudden appearance. The Manageress surveyed Ruby’s non-existent door, Crofter’s Half-destroyed door and Clover’s busted lock. The Manageress strode up to Ruby and yelled at her!
“You bloody fool! What did you think you were playing at?” Ruby explained about Crofter’s outpouring of fear. Crofter wailed,
“Ruby threatened me!” Ruby lost her temper for the thousandth time this story and snapped at Crofter! Crofter screamed in terror and backed off, retreating to the rear of his box. Ruby then said something unprintable about Crofter that caused the Manageress to lose her temper! She strode away and disappeared into the riding school. She reappeared with a lungeing whip! Clover worked out that diplomacy had failed and hid her head. She didn’t want to watch the showdown between Ruby and the Manageress.
The Manageress and Ruby faced each other across the battle lines. Ruby snapped and shook her fore hooves at the Manageress while the Manageress just stood with the ever-faithful lungeing whip beside her.
“Now will you back down Ruby?” the Manageress asked. Ruby swore at the Manageress and advanced! Bad move, bad move! The Manageress raised the whip and cracked it down across,,, the wall. It’s the sound of a whip horses cannot stand. When the whip landed with a sharp “CRACK!” on the wall Clover squealed loudly!
It was this that brought Rosie, Beyancca and I from the field where we had been grazing peacefully. As we approached Clover was pleading with the Manageress to stop using the whip to threaten Ruby!
“Look, there’s no need for this. Can’t you two talk about your differences?” Clover asked. Ruby tried to kick the stuffing out of Clover! The Manageress couldn’t do anything to stop her! Ruby grabbed Clover’s ear in her teeth and bit down on it! Clover clenched her teeth, trying desperately not to cry out. I could see the pain in Clover’s eyes, it was horrible to watch. Ruby twisted the ear she held until Clover was screaming for mercy! The Manageress was horrified by what she was seeing!
“Ruby you big bitch let Clover go!” she yelled. Ruby shook her head, Clover nearly passed out, she hung on grimly to consciousness.
Beyancca had seen too much! I thought she would have broken down at the sight of one horse attacking another. My views were based on Beyancca’s reaction to Ellen’s rampage. But I was wrong! Beyancca suddenly threw herself at Ruby, striking out with both fore feet! She Caught Ruby across her fore legs, causing her to release her hold on Clover’s ear. Ruby screamed at Beyancca as she fell on top of her.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing Beyancca?” Beyancca set about giving Ruby a good thumping! Beyancca’s not usually predisposed to violent acts, but now! Ruby was attacking a dear friend and Beyancca wasn’t going to stand by and watch it happen! Beyancca made sure that Ruby wasn’t going to retaliate before she levered herself off of her. Beyancca had taught ruby. Beyancca stood up and walked away from the scene of the fight. Rosie made to follow her but I stopped her.
“No Rosie, don’t follow Beyancca. She needs time on her own.” I said gently. As Beyancca turned the corner and disappeared out of sight I saw she was shaking. I concluded that fear and anger had driven Beyancca. Ruby’s a lot older and stronger than Beyancca, and I think it was the Element of surprise that enabled Beyancca to teach Ruby a thing or two. Otherwise Beyancca wouldn’t have stood a chance against Ruby. Ruby made no protest as the Manageress examined her. Beyancca may have been terrified, but she had been careful as well. The Manageress found only shattered pride under Ruby’s sweat soaked coat.
“She hasn’t broken anything dam it! I could have dragged her through court if she had!” Ruby whimpered. The Manageress ignored her. Ruby struggled to her feet and walked stiffly across to the driving yard. Jingle saw her coming and looked away. Fudge asked,
“What was all that about?” Poor Fudge had no idea of how explosive her innocent question was! Ruby whirled round and kicked at her with both hind feet! Fudge jumped for her life and ended up with her cheek pressed against the straw! She had felt the wind of the passing hooves but nothing else, close don’t you think? Carmen started whinnying loudly for someone to:
“Get Ruby out of here! She’s attempting to murder Fudge!”
I sprinted to the driving yard at the sound of Carmen’s shouts. I found Ruby on the turn to attack Carmen! I ran head long at the larger horse in a blind rage! I felt a huge shock run through my body as we met! Ruby seemed to gasp as I crashed into her. The next thing I knew was hitting the concrete with considerable force and the feeling of another heavier horse falling slap-bang on top of me! I yelled in agony as my leg was twisted and broken under me!
The Manageress and John came running. They hauled Ruby off of me. Ruby had been winded in the attack. Then John had a look at me. The Pain from my leg disabled clear thinking.
“Jinja’s broken his leg.” He said. The Manageress picked up her mobile phone. I looked at the phone trying to think straight,
“That thing’s as faithful as the lungeing whip.” This rather foalish thought cheered me slightly. I told John about it.
“It’s not like a dog Jinja.” He laughed. The Manageress injected some of the same stuff she had used to treat Rosie when she was dying. This stuff had a curious affect on me. I seemed to be half-asleep. The Pain from my leg had gone, and so had the strength to move. I lay there on the concrete of the yard wondering what could happen next. I could see John and the Manageress. They were alternately stroking me and talking to other stable lads. I DECIDED I LIKED THIS STATE.
“There’s no pain, and I feel so peaceful.” I thought. I closed my eyes and drifted off into sweet oblivion.
I woke in a strange place, but then again it wasn’t so strange. It was the vet’s place actually. I opened my eyes to see the Manageress and John coming around the partition from the other room. They had both been crying, I could see that. I shifted and wished I hadn’t. My body ached from nose to tail and the sudden movement caused the room to spin and turn upside down! I laid my head on the rubber matting to recover.
“Ugh, this is horrible. I haven’t felt this ill since I last visited this place.” I thought. Eventually the room sorted itself out and the Manageress and John were able to keep their feet on the ground and not disappear into the roof every time I looked at them. . John came closer and knelt down beside me.
“Hey Jinja, you all right mate?”
“Yeah, fine thanks John.” I replied dreamily. The drug the vet had given me hadn’t quite worn off and I was still disconnected from reality from time to time. The Manageress said:
“The vet said you might not make it.” I reasoned that this had been said because I am in my later life. I’m either in my twenties or thirties, I can’t quite remember which. Anyway at first I thought the Manageress was joking.
“What? Me? Die? Who does the vet think he’s operated on? No, I’m not dying yet. I’ve heard some jokes, but that one takes the prize.” I said. Then the Manageress lost her temper with me!
“It wasn’t a joke Jinja! The vet was serious when he said that!” I suddenly felt very unhappy. I asked myself:
“What did I say? What did I do to upset them?” John put me in the picture.
“You don’t take anything seriously Jinj’. We just want you to realise how close you were.”
“I’m sorry John.” I said. The Manageress said,
“I’m glad you’re bubbling over with life Jinja. Just promise me something before we go any further, don’t ever attempt anything like that again!” I was made to promise faithfully that I wouldn’t go after Ruby ever again.
“But I was only protecting Carmen.” I protested. John replied:
“Yes Jinja, but you almost came to grief doing it.” The Manageress added:
“Both you and Beyancca are have a go heroes.”
I raised my head experimentally to see what would happen. In the event nothing did. I tried to stand up and failed.
“Take it slow Jinj’.” The vet said.
“All right, you’re the doctor.” I thought. I gave it another five minutes to settle down before finally standing on my own four feet.
“How are Clover and Beyancca?” I asked.
“Clover’s as well as can be expected. Her ear’s been stitched if that’s what you mean.” I was reminded that Poor Clover, for all the love for life she may have, was dying. I shook myself hard and tried not to think about it.
“What about Beyancca?” I enquired. The two humans both smiled.
“Both Beyancca and Rosie are eager to see you again Jinj’.” No sooner had the words been spoken then there was a horrendous crash and a yell from the vet, that part I can’t print, well, Rosie and Beyancca came surging into the recovery room like a couple of angry tornadoes!
They snuffled around me exploring, searching, and reassuring themselves that I was really there, alive and healthy. I let them satisfy their curiosity and ask their questions.
“Are you all right Jinj’? What happened in the fight?” I answered those and many other questions before they would let me go. As we walked out into the sunlight The Manageress made a remark that had Rosie and Beyancca laughing so much they could hardly stand.
“Well Jinja, two mares after you, what a treat ay?” Rosie turned towards Beyancca.
“Jinja’s mine!” she said playfully. Beyancca smiled:
“Draw lots!” she replied. Both Rosie and Beyancca fell about laughing once more.
We were loaded into the horsebox and driven back to the yard. My leg was in a huge plaster thing that stretched from my shoulder right down my leg to my fetlock. This was a funny arrangement. Because of this I had to walk round using the straightened leg as little as possible. I got round all right in the end. Naturally I was careful to keep the leg out of any contact with possible danger. Well, there was one possibility I could have not foreseen. Digby, that rather overfriendly French racehorse nearly put me back in the vet’s place the first time we met after my accident.
I had walked, or should that be limped around from my field to the main yard via the barn in which Digby lived. The moment he saw me Digby tore open his door and ran out to greet me. He nearly knocked me down! Digby said:
“Hey Jinja! I’m so glad to see you back here!” I could see this was genuine. That part was not in the least bit unpleasant. The next bit was however. Digby has as I have already mentioned a rather annoying habit of rubbing his nose against the shoulder of anyone he meets. I know he’s only being friendly, but one day I could see him getting himself into all kinds of trouble. What happened then almost tipped me over the edge. Digby rubbed his nose, not against my right shoulder, no, not where it would have been far better to rub, no, he rubbed his nose against my left. Yes, the one that was covered in a plaster thing. The vibrations travelled down my leg and aggravated the broken bits, I was not best pleased with Digby I can tell you! I snarled with rage and pain! My leg was only two days mended! It hadn’t even had time to think about mending, let alone have started the job! I upper cutted Digby sharply in his neck with my nose! I hadn’t meant to hurt him, no, that was the furthest thing from my mind! The pain and fear of the operation had spurred me to defend the affected limb jealously! Digby squealed with terror as I bashed hymn. He ran away constantly looking over his shoulder to see if I was following. I had no strength to even think about it. My leg felt lousy in the extreme! Digby’s affectionate rubbing had set up a vibration that sent the injured bones into a frenzy of complaint! I swore viciously over and over again as the pain persisted.
“Digby, I’ll murder you!” I yelled. Of course I didn’t mean it, but Digby wasn’t to know that. He had been badly frightened first by Ellen, and then by Ruby’s violent actions. He thought that I was going to attack him, just like Ellen had attacked him. I limped off to see where Digby had disappeared to. I found him cowering in the corner of my field. When he saw me Digby screamed!
“Jinja, I didn’t mean it like that! Honest I didn’t! Don’t hurt me, please don’t hurt me!” The poor chap was almost on his knees pleading with me not to harm him. As I have already said, I had no intention to. I tried to reassure Digby of this.
“Hey Digby, come ‘ere mate.” I coaxed. Digby was nervous, as well he might be. He stayed exactly where he was, looking around him fearfully. I approached him carefully showing what I hoped to be reassuring signs. Digby watched me intently as I drew nearer.
“What’re you going to do to me?” he asked hoarsely. I noticed that his eyes were terrified.
“Nothing Digby.” I replied.
“What, no nip or kick to teach me a lesson?” Digby asked. My look of surprise startled him.
“Why no, of course not. Whoever do you think I am? I’m not violent Digby. What I said might have sounded awful, but that’s only words. People can say the most awful things when they’re in pain.” I replied. I STRETCHED OUT MY NOSE TOWARDS Digby as a sign of friendship. He rubbed back against it shyly.
“I know you’re not malicious. You’re a decent chap who wants to show affection. You can’t help who you are Digby. I’m not trying to change you when I say this, so don’t take it as criticism. But I think that you’re friendly nature will get you into trouble one day if you don’t check it slightly. Try and think before you commit yourself to anything. If the horse you rubbed yourself against was Ellen, where would you be now.” I asked. Digby replied:
“But I wouldn’t have touched Ellen, I know what she’s like!” he complained.
“I’m just warning you though Digby.” I said. Digby looked upset.
“But Jinja, I can’t help who I am!” Digby protested.
“No Digby, I didn’t mean you for one minute to stop being yourself. On the contrary. I think you’re a wonderful chap. But sometimes you’re boundless love for everyone might get you into deep water. That’s all I’m trying to say.” I replied. Digby asked:
“Who should I be careful of then Jinja?” I thought for a minute or two. I had heard word that I had much the same problem as Digby has. I don’t mean to blow my trumpet when I say that. But I remember when I first met Carmen I had rubbed my nose against hers affectionately. She had resented it and had nearly kicked me into the next county. I warned Digby about this.
“So you’re saying that I should not rub Carmen up the wrong way.” He said.
“Yeah, that’s right.” I replied.
“Any others I should be wary of?” Digby asked.
“Well, Cleo, perhaps Cleo might feel a little resentful of your attentions. Although, I don’t really know, she might, but then again, well, can’t really say for sure with her.” I replied. Suddenly someone asked,
“Did I hear my name mentioned?” We turned to see Cleo walking towards us. Digby suddenly looked very guilty. He started to ask:
“How long have you,,,”
“I wasn’t listening in if that’s what you’re worried about. I heard my name mentioned as I was passing. I was interested to find out what was going on that’s all.” Cleo replied. Digby explained as best he could. Cleo smiled as he reached the part where she came into the story. She walked up to Digby and nuzzled him.
“Here, have a go.” She invited. Now that Cleo was asking for the equine version of a hug Digby went all shy on her. Cleo’s misguided years were over. She had pulled out of her nosedive when Jingle had recognised that she was not an evil horse. Jingle, Fudge and most of the other horses had helped Cleo to talk about and come to terms with such things as the sudden and tragic death of her mother at the hands of a careless car driver. Cleo had even managed to form a sort of relationship with her daughter Poppy. Cleo admitted what she had said and done in the early months of Poppie’s life was wrong and totally unjustified. Cleo had even tried to make amends to some extent with Domino. But Domino wasn’t going to take it lying down. Although Jingle had talked her into trying to be civil to Cleo, Domino was only going to do that. She could not forgive Cleo for anything. This had upset Cleo greatly. She had accepted that what she had done was wrong. But Domino seemed to be unable to see that there was such a thing as mental illness. Cleo had been ill, Ellen was truly mad! Cleo swallowed hard. She took a breath that seemed to shake her to her foundations. I saw that she was trying desperately not to cry. Digby unknowingly broke the seal on the lid holding Cleo’s emotions in check. Seeing Cleo was upset, Digby did the only thing he knew to calm her. He rubbed his nose against hers. Cleo buried her head in Digby’s shoulder and sobbed into his fur. Digby tried to comfort her.
“Hey, come on Cleo dear. Don’t cry, it’s all right now.” He said. Then I realised what had made Cleo break down.
“Digby’s the only horse that’s shown her real love!” I thought, “He understands her totally!” I watched them sorting themselves out. Cleo stopped crying and they walked away from me.
I didn’t know what to think. I was pleased for both of them, who wouldn’t be? Ellen perhaps. Well, I know this is a funny thing to say and this is probably not the right time to say it. But Digby and Cleo are a strange couple. Then again I suppose the same could be said for Rosie and myself. You see, Cleo’s young and Digby’s in later life. Isn’t that called cradle snatching in human circles? Anyway, good luck to them.
Rosie came into sight around the corner of the barn. She walked towards me with Beyancca. Those two seemed inseparable. Beyancca shouted to me.
“Hey Jinja! You heard the latest? Ellen’s going!” Rosie shushed her quickly!
“You bloody fool! Ellen’s not far away, she’ll hear you!” Rosie hissed. Beyancca might have had the temperament of an older horse, but sometimes she lacked tact. I looked nervously towards the box where Ellen was imprisoned. I say imprisoned because this box was unlike any other. It had doors top and bottom like all the other boxes, but there the similarity ended. The doors were closed and a metal grill rather like the one over half of Crofter’s door was closed over it, like a second door if you like. The first door was locked before hand with two bolts on each door. These were firmly fastened to the wood both on the door and on the brick wall. For this prison box was designed to hold the most ferocious horses. The two doors were linked together with a connecting bolt and then the bars were shut across the whole lot and fixed with bolts. It sounds a horrid place and thankfully I’ve never been in there. Any horse that was sent to spend time in that box came out very different to when they went in. You must understand that it was the seclusion of this box that frightened and confused horses. Other than that life was normal, apart from there was no work, and the horse that was in the doghouse so to speak could not mix with the other horses while he or she was exercising in the fields. The convicted horse wasn’t even allowed to talk to the other horses. I must add that the Manageress never put horses in there unless they were dangerous to other horses or humans. This box inspired fear in all of us.
I looked at the bars across the door. I felt sick with fright!
“It must be hell in there.” I said. Just then the Manageress appeared at the door of her house and walked across to the prison box. She unbolted the bars and then the top door. The moment the door was opened Ellen snapped at the Manageress! Ellen fastened her gaze on Beyancca! Ellen expressed views on Beyancca’s parentage, sexual preferences, breeding and political leanings that made Rosie take a few paces backwards. Beyancca had never heard such talk! I don’t mean to say she was an angel and never swore or said anything derogatory about anyone because that would be lying. But Beyancca had never heard such damaging and insulting remarks. I’m sure she had no idea what half of them meant! But Rosie knew full well what they meant and was appalled! Beyancca was outraged at Ellen for saying those things that she could understand, but Rosie’s face told her that Ellen had said far worse things in the parts of the outpouring that she couldn’t understand. You see Beyancca’s insults were on the most part Foalish. She was only six after all. Ellen’s were far more damaging because of their technical accuracy and deep nature. Ellen meant to do Beyancca real damage with them.
Rosie was deadly pale. She was almost in tears actually. I strode towards Rosie and stopped beside her. From two feet away I could see that my wife was shaking! Rosie swallowed.
“J, Jinja, Ask one of the others to lead Beyancca away will you.” But Beyancca wasn’t going. She is a caring compassionate horse who cannot bare to see another in distress. Beyancca saw that Rosie was upset and wanted to help her.
“No Rosie, I’ll be all right. I want to stay.” Beyancca said. Rosie shook her head.
“No, no Beyancca, please do as I ask. Go with Jinja, he’ll look after you.” Beyancca tried once more.
“But Rosie,,,” Rosie interrupted her,
“No Beyancca, go!” Rosie shoved Beyancca as she said this. This action, though not painful for Beyancca, frightened her enough to force compliance. As we walked away Beyancca questioned me.
“Why has Rosie told me to go? What does all this mean Jinja?” she asked. I replied:
“I know what it means Beyancca, but, I’m not going to tell you just yet.”
“Why not? I have a right to know what Ellen’s been saying about me.” Beyancca replied. I hesitated.
“Yes, well. There are things that you don’t fully understand Beyancca. Those will come with time.”
“Don’t patronise me Jinja!” Beyancca said crossly. I tried again.
“Beyancca, tell me truthfully, did you understand all the things that Ellen said?” Beyancca shook her head.
“No, too technical for me.” She replied. I could see that Beyancca wanted a simple explanation of the terms Ellen had used against her. I thought,
“Some of the things Ellen said were far too vicious and evil! I might damage Beyancca for life if I explained some of them.” Beyancca was watching me. She watched my face intently, I’m sure she could read my thoughts. I was hoping secretly that Beyancca would do the usual foalish thing and forget about this in a few hours. But somehow I knew she wouldn’t. I knew that Beyancca would pursue the matter until she got an explanation. I felt so sorry for her. Poor Beyancca obviously thought that those insults I wouldn’t talk about were the foalish type. But I knew they were far worse than Beyancca could ever comprehend at this time.
The sun beat down on the yard and it’s inhabitants. The day had turned out warmer than could be expected for late April. It was a perfect day for horses and humans to be with their loved ones. Instead of that we had Ellen kicking up a fuss, Rosie distraught and upset, Beyancca confused and furious with me for keeping details back from her and the Manageress in the middle of it all trying to sort out the whole rotten situation.
“I feel sick.” Beyancca said suddenly. She buried her head in my shoulder and howled with terror!
“What’s Ellen gonn’a do to me Jinja?” she sobbed.
“Ellen’s not going to hurt you Beyancca. I’ll make sure of that.” I promised. Beyancca stood back and shook her head.
“You can’t beat Ellen in a fight! You tried to beat Ruby and look what happened!” She indicated my plaster thing.
“Ellen’s twice the size of Ruby. You wouldn’t stand a chance Jinj’!” Beyancca said. I must put the record straight here. Ellen is not twice the size of Ruby, if she were then the Manageress wouldn’t stand a chance of keeping her under control. All foals tend to overestimate size. Especially when they’re talking about something that excites or frightens them. Beyancca shook herself from nose to tail.
“Hadn’t we better go and see what Rosie’s up to?” She asked.
“No Beyancca, I’ll go, you stay here.” I replied. With that I led her to her box, opened the door, physically pushed her inside and slammed the door, running the bolts home top and bottom with my teeth! I performed this quickly so Beyancca wouldn’t know what was happening until it was too late for her to do anything about it. I didn’t want her hanging about while Rosie and I helped the Manageress to defuse what might be an ugly situation. As I walked away I heard Beyancca yelling after me.
“Jinja, why have you done this? Why lock me in my box? I’m not a foal any more!” I ignored her and let Digby and the others sort her out. Right then I had my wife and the Manageress to think about. Beyancca was safe and now I had other things to worry about. My leg troubled me more than ever. The bloody plaster thing was really restrictive and I was getting sick to the back teeth of it! The thought that I had another six weeks of the thing did nothing to cheer me.
When I reached Rosie and the Manageress I found them trying to get Ellen into a lorry. This was proving to be a real problem. Ellen plunged and bucked as the Manageress led her towards the open doors at the back of the lorry. The Manageress had muzzled Ellen to make quite sure that she couldn’t have another go at biting her. Short of tying Ellen’s legs together the Manageress couldn’t do any more to make the situation safer for herself or Rosie. Ellen was bucking higher and higher as she became angrier and angrier! I had an Idea suddenly.
“If I kick Ellen on her rear end while she’s bucking she might summersault into the lorry.” I had no sympathy for Ellen. I took careful aim with my right fore foot and waited for the perfect opportunity. When it presented itself in the midst of a particularly massive buck from Ellen I struck! Rearing up on my hind legs I kicked Ellen with all my force! I watched in wonder as she pitched over in a summersault actually lifting her fore feet off the ground! She landed on her back on the straw inside the lorry with a dull crash! The Manageress slammed the doors closed and rammed the bolts home quickly threading the chain that finished the job through the loops and locking it with a very sturdy padlock, phew!
I stood shaking violently! Someone said:
“Wow, that was really something! Pity we had no video camera!” I spun round to see Beyancca standing behind me!
“How the hell did you get here?” I asked. A voice I knew well said:
“She was kicking and yelling to be let out so I let her out.” I whirled round to face the speaker. I stared at my owner in shock!
“John!” I yelled. The poor human not comprehending my anger said:
“What Jinj’?” I was almost dancing with rage!
“I put her there for a reason! Beyancca was in danger! I can see why you did it, it’s the human thing to let an animal out if they are screaming and yelling to be set free. But Beyancca could have been killed by Ellen!” I shouted. John put his arm around me and hugged me.
“I’m sorry Jinj’.” He said.
“That’s all right, I know why you did it. I suppose if I was in the same situation I would have.” I replied. Suddenly I felt very tired. I lost control of my limbs and collapsed onto the concrete!
I seemed to be half-conscious. I could hear and feel but couldn’t see anything! I heard the Manageress calming John down. John was yelling something about me dying on him. I dimly heard the beeping of a mobile phone as the Manageress punched in the vet’s now familiar number. She spoke briefly on the phone before disconnecting and kneeling down to take a better look at me. The Manageress said:
“It looks like Jinja’s suffering from acute exhaustion John.” I felt John put his arms around my neck and hug me.
“Will he be all right?” my owner asked. The Manageress looked at her Son wondering what to tell him.
“Look John, Jinja’s old, there can be problems with older horses.” I knew that was a round about way of saying that I might not make it.
The vet arrived and took a look at me.
“Poor old Jinja. All right, let’s get him back to the surgery and we’ll have a look at him.” With that I was loaded into the vet’s pickup truck and driven away towards the vet’s place.
I felt worse than ever! All the horrors and fears of the last few weeks grew in my mind to frightening proportions. First my brush with Ellen, then Beyancca’s fight with Ellen, Then Ellen’s rampage through the barn and my run in with Ruby, where I broke my leg, and then, finally, my revenge attack on Ellen. All this grew into a horrifying catalogue of events that served to frighten me still further! I whimpered with fear and terror!
“It’s all right Jinja mate!” John said. But I knew all was not well. I thought of poor Beyancca not understanding all that was said to her, and of Rosie who was keeping it back from her for her own protection. I finally thought of Ellen, yes that horse that I had only an hour previously kicked into a transporter lorry. I remembered that once I had actually liked her! Respected her because she was related to my wife. Now that had crumbled into hatred and resentment and fear! The pickup swung round a corner and stopped outside what I supposed was the vet’s place. I was winched into the theatre and knocked out with some powerful drug. I knew nothing more!
I awoke lying on what I thought was grass. I thought,
“I’m dead, this is heaven, surely.” I shifted slightly. My left leg was out of its plaster thing.
“That’s strange, I only broke my leg two days before the revenge attack on Ellen.” I thought. The wind blew across the field, it was warm and smelt of freshly mown grass.
“The Manageress is mowing the lawn at last.” I thought. I rolled onto my chest and stood up. I shook myself experimentally to see what happened, nothing unpleasant did. I looked at the sun to confirm the time of day.
“Two or three o’clock in the afternoon.” I concluded. I heard the clop of a horse’s hooves on the concrete of the road. Looking up I saw Clover jogging along the edge of my field! I whinnied to her!
“Hey Clover! You got a few minutes my dear?” I asked. Clover turned her head and looked at me. She wasn’t carrying any humans, in fact I think she was out for a stroll. I can’t think of a better day for walking in the countryside.
Clover jumped the hedge and ran towards me.
“Hey Jinj’ how ya doing!” she welcomed. Clover’s boundless energy always lifted my spirits to dizzy heights.
“I’m fine now thanks Clover. Can you tell me something?” Clover smiled,
“Yes what do you want to know?” I grinned.
“It may sound stupid to you. But I seem to have lost some time. What’s today’s date?” Clover’s smile widened.
“It’s the twentieth of June Jinja.” She said. I thought,
“I’ve lost six weeks somewhere. I attacked Ellen at the middle of April. Where the hell can six weeks go?” I put this question to Clover.
“Ever since you’re run in with that bloody horse, you’ve been under sedation.” I realised what the Manageress had done. She had made quite sure that I wouldn’t do anything stupid to endanger myself while my leg was mending. Clover suddenly lost her light manner and became very solemn. Her eyes were more frightened than I had ever seen them!
“Hey Clover, what’s wrong?” I asked. Clover swallowed hard and tried to keep tears from her eyes. She sniffed,
“You see Jinj’, I, I’m, I mean I,,,” Clover buried her head in my shoulder and burst into tears. She suddenly blurted out!
scared Jinj’!” I was confused, who could
Clover be scared of? Ellen had been
taken away over a month ago. Then it hit
“Clover’s scared of death!” I thought. Then I asked myself:
“How’re you going to deal with this one Jinja?” I had no rules for dealing with horses that were scared of death. Clover knew she had very little time to live, the vet had told her that over three months previously. But I thought she had come to terms with it! Clover seemed to be enjoying her final months with us. Making the most of the time she had left. But now I realised that the apparent enjoyment of life was actually a way of Clover pretending to herself that nothing had happened, that all would be fine. In short Clover had been in denial for three or maybe four months. It was only now that she was thinking seriously about her future, and to be quite blunt about it, the prospects frightened her out of her wits! Clover rubbed her nose against me fervently! She wanted comfort, reassurance that all would be fine, love and affection. I could give her most of those things. But the one thing I couldn’t reassure her of was whether everything would be all right after her passing! What would happen to her spirit after it had left her Earthly form? Many people have many differing views on the existence of the after life. Whether it does or does not exist, and if it does, what form that new life takes. I had read that certain religious faiths believed in re-incarnation. But that was only one belief among many others which I have no space to detail. I supposed that Rosie had been re-incarnated. But it had gone wrong. A person is meant to re-incarnate into something other than their former forms. Rosie had re-incarnated into an Irish Draft mare. Well I think that’s what she is. Clover said:
“I don’t want the Manageress to see me dead.” I was confused.
“Well, she’s going to. I’m sorry to be blunt about it, you did bring the subject up after all, but, horses usually die in their sleep. So you’ll know nothing about it anyway.” I replied. Clover choked on her tears. This set off a coughing fit that lasted for a minute or so. Then Clover recovered. She stared at me, her eyes full of terror! She said hoarsely,
“J, Jinja, Jinja, I, I’m going to, to drown myself!” My shock was beyond words! My eyes told her of my disquiet at her revelation.
“But Clover! You can’t do that! Humans, they, they go insane if they don’t know things for certain. If you disappeared one day and never returned then the Manageress and all the other horses would wonder till they’re dying day where you disappeared. They need the finality of evidence Clover! I know why you came up with that, and I can see your reasons for it, but it’s not a good idea. Really Clover, you don’t know how long you’ve got left. No one knows, The vet said three or four months but vets can be wrong or misguided sometimes. You mustn’t worry about it Clover, you’ve got far better things to think about. Enjoy life while you have it and think about death when it comes to you. Please Clover, don’t do it!” I pleaded. Clover dried her eyes and looked me straight in mine.
“You’re right Jinj’. I was being selfish, horrible, wicked!” Clover walked away with her nose nearly touching her hooves. I felt awful! What was I going to do with Clover? She had come to me for help and had I given her it? Her resolve was quite strong, she knew what she wanted to do. Did I do the right thing to advise her otherwise? On balance I thought I had. I felt I knew enough about human emotions to be able to advise her. As Clover walked away I thought of the way she had helped me through the difficult times between Rosie’s passing and her re-incarnation thing. Clover is gentle and kind. Most of the horses are in the yard I’m pleased to say.
I noticed the Manageress coming towards me. She put out her hand and stroked my neck.
“Hi Jinj’ how’re you then mate?” she asked. I stopped, what was I going to tell her? I couldn’t say “I’m fine” because that wouldn’t be true, and humans can tell when a horse is lieing. But then again I couldn’t tell her what Clover had told me. The poor human would be so upset by it, and I hated seeing humans in distress. Anyway the Manageress had enough to deal with at the moment. She was having trouble coming to terms with the facts of Clover’s situation. That’s how I saw it anyway. Clover’s nameplate had been taken off her door. I supposed that was how humans came to terms with the death of a pet. But then thirdly, I had never kept anything from the Manageress or John in my life! I felt they had a right to know what Clover had been planning. I replied:
“I’m all right in myself thanks, but Clover, she told me something earlier that I think you’d better know. I know this will upset you, I’m very sorry for that, more sorry than I can tell you. But I feel it would be wrong if I kept it from you.” I walked across the field and found a clean bale of straw. Booting it across to where the Manageress stood I indicated that she should sit on it. I fell onto my knees and rested my head in her lap as I re-counted what Clover had said to me. I cannot think of the words to describe the Manageress’s state of mind when I had finished. To say she was distraught would be an understatement! The poor human hugged me so tightly that I thought my bones would break! She said,
“But Jinja, Clover can’t do that!” I replied:
“That’s what I told her.”
“Did you manage to talk her out of it?” the Manageress asked.
“Yes, I think so. I hope so!” I replied. The Manageress returned to the reason why she had come to see me.
“Jinja, the vet told me that you should try and calm down a little. Try not to get into the kind of trouble you have recently. Also keep your stress levels to a minimum.” I had never heard anything so funny in my life! I started laughing!
“Yeah right! And how is the vet going to stop me?” The Manageress shouted at me!
“Jinja! The vet’s not in it for his enjoyment! He knows what he’s talking about! The reason you collapsed six weeks ago was because you were exhausted! You did too much and had too many physical and mental shocks in a too shorter period of time. Your poor body can’t cope with all the abuse you give it Jinja. You’re getting on a bit now and you’ve got to slow down! You can’t act like a three-year-old any longer! You’ve got to take notice of me and the vet Jinj’ dear, because if you don’t you’ll be in serious trouble.” I saw what she meant. But I couldn’t just retire to some quiet field and live out the rest of my days in “peaceful” surroundings. That wasn’t my way of doing things. If I was taken out of the main yard and put into a secluded field somewhere I would go mad and die within a week, I was sure of that. I told the Manageress as much.
But you must Jinja! You’re not a youngster any more.” Someone said:
“Look mum, if he doesn’t want to go and retire you can’t really make him.” The Manageress turned to see John standing behind her. He had been listening to our conversation.
“John, Jinja’s a horse not a human! If he’s put in a field he’s put in a field and that’s that! He can’t do anything about it!” But John was having none of it!
“Look mum, Jinja hates being left out of any action or event. If he were locked in a field all-day he’d go mad! You know that mum!” he was pleading with the Manageress to let me carry on the way I have always done.
“Go for it John!” I thought.
The Manageress made signs to me that I should get up. I did so and she rose and dusted straw off her jeans. The Manageress and John walked away together. I went in search of Beyancca and Rosie.
I found Beyancca and Rosie in a field by the river. They were both stretched out in the sunshine sunning themselves. They might have been asleep because they made no attempt to get to their feet when I approached. I saw that they were indeed both asleep. I whistled and shouted at them!
“Oi! Rosie! Beyancca! Get up you lazy pair!” Beyancca sprang to her feet with a cry of:
“Hey! What? Who’s shouting?” Rosie’s reaction was totally the opposite.
“Oi Jinja,,,” Then she told me to go away in no uncertain terms. I had forgotten that Rosie hated being disturbed while she was sunbathing. Beyancca however had had enough of the sun and was ready for a spot of horseplay if you will. She and I engaged in a mock fight on the grass beside Rosie. Rosie did not take kindly to this. With a squeal of rage she nipped both of us on our ears and we shot away in alarm!
“Big mumma not like what little kids do.” I said. Beyancca collapsed with laughter.
“When Mumma not happy, nobody happy.” She added. We turned to see Clover standing by the gate into the field looking at the scene. I wondered how long she had been there. Had she seen Beyancca’s and my five minutes of madness? If the huge smile on her face was anything to go by I supposed that she had.
“Hey Clover! Want to join us?” Beyancca asked. She obviously hadn’t made the jump to reasoning that adult horses might not wish to play the games that the younger ones did. But Clover opened the gate and walked towards us.
“If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not get into a rough and tumble with any of you.” She said.
“What were you doing when we saw you Clover?” Beyancca asked.
“Oh, wandering about, you know, nothing in particular.” Clover replied. Rosie struggled to her feet and turned to face us. She fixed us with an icy stare.
“You two are a pain in the neck!” she said. Rosie was addressing Beyancca and myself when she said this. Clover said,
“There’s nothing wrong with a bit of fun is there?” Rosie bared her teeth at her.
“No, nothing wrong with fun, but there’s a place for everything, and, fighting like foals next to a sunbathing horse is not a very good thing to do.” Clover bore this rebuff with good grace. She thought,
“Experience good and bad while you have the chance and make the most of the time you’ve got. Anyway it takes all to make the world turn.” Secretly Clover thought the Earth was turned by a giant motor. She had no recollection of where she’d got that idea from, but from time to time she had been laughed at for looking for the source of power for her mythical motor. Then she hit upon the idea of solar energy. This served to sort out the mystery of the power source. Clover often asked herself:
“But what happened during the night? When it was dark, did the Earth stop spinning?” These were two questions she was unable to answer. Clover was far away in her thoughts. She asked:
“Can anyone tell me what happens at night, when the sun’s gone. Does the Earth stop spinning?” Rosie tried not to laugh. She had difficulty keeping a straight face. But Beyancca and I knew what Clover was going through. You see Rosie is more educated than most horses. I have found that some people who have a better education than others sometimes look down on to, or patronise those who have a lesser understanding of things. Now I don’t believe for one minute that Rosie meant to upset Clover. But her stifled laughter served to make Clover feel small. I could see it in her eyes.
“No, forget that.” Clover said quickly.
“No Clover, don’t forget it. I’ll tell you.” I said. I directed a:
“Don’t say anything!” look at Rosie.
I then explained about gravity and how the moon and the Earth worked together with the sun to make the whole system work properly.
“You can think of it as a motor if you like Clover. There’s nothing wrong with that.” I said. Then I admitted that I had not known about gravity for twenty-five years. This revelation shocked Rosie.
“You what Jinja? You had no idea that the Earth and the moon were linked in their operation?” The terms Rosie used baffled Beyancca to the point where she switched off. Clover hugged me.
“Let’s go to the seaside.” She suggested. I thought for a bit.
“There is a village with a beach not far from the yard. We might be able to get there.” We turned to go back down the track to the yard and saw John coming up the track towards us. I realised then that I had grass in my mane from the rough and tumble game. I shook my head to get rid of it. John came close and put his arms around my neck. He rested his cheek against mine. I rubbed back against him gently. It was suddenly brought home to me how close I was to losing John. Or should I say how close he was to losing me. I reflected on the past ten weeks and wondered how the hell I managed to survive all the beatings; thumping and mental torment dished out by the likes of Ellen and Ruby. John stroked my ears and ran a finger down my nose. That tickled and I let him know it! I thumped him hard with my nose.
“Tickle did it Jinj’?” John asked.
“That’s a bloody silly question John.” I replied. John and I remained like that for a good five minutes or more. You see John and I are so much in tune with each other, that when he suggested we go back to the yard, he had no need to put a head collar on me and lead me. We walked back to the yard with Rosie, Clover and Beyancca following us.
Beyancca remembered something.
“How did you get rid of Ellen Jinj’?” I told her about the waiting game I had played.
“Oh right, ah, yes I see what you mean.” Beyancca replied. Rosie was looking at me with severity.
“Jinja, why did you even think of challenging Ellen?” She laid her ears right back! Rosie was furious!
“You and the Manageress were getting nowhere with her!” I protested. Rosie shouted at close range,
“Well the Manageress would have given her a tranquilliser in the end you bloody fool!” Clover lost her temper!
“Look Rosie, just shut it, right!” Rosie was so angry that she squared up to Clover and was ready to fight her! Clover backed down.
“Wimp! Wimp! Wimp!” Rosie taunted. I had never seen my wife act in such an unkind way to anybody before, well, without a very good reason for it. To say I was shocked would be putting it mildly!
“Rosie, why are you acting like this? What’s your problem?” I asked. Rosie gave me a sour look.
“I’ve not got the problem, you have Jinja.” She replied. I ignored her.
“Rosie I love you dearly but you can be a bloody ass sometimes.” I thought. Then I rethought that.
“Hang on an Ass is a type of Donkey. How can Rosie be an Ass when she’s quite clearly a horse?” Then the thought,
“Oh no the typist has written that down!” also intruded.
We walked to the barn where Fleur, Misty, Digby, Beyancca and Candy lived. Digby greeted me with his usual good nature.
“Hi Jinja!” I held up a hoof to stop him going any further. Digby could bruise a horse with his nose if he wasn’t careful with it. Misty asked:
“What happened to you this time then Jinja?” I told her about my accident. Candy said:
“I saw you lock Beyancca in her box Jinja. Wasn’t that a little harsh of you?” I replied:
“Beyancca would have been in danger if I hadn’t done that.” Beyancca countered with:
“I nearly missed the whole show!” Evidently Beyancca had no concept of danger when it came to dealing with other horses. That’s a typical foalish response. I then realised that I hadn’t spoken to Fudge, Jingle, Cleo or Carmen for a long time. I sped off to put in an appearance. I shot round two corners, nearly decapitating Domino on my way past the riding school. She was coming out at the time and had to retreat quickly when I came streaking through like an express train! She yelled:
“Hey Jinja! You.,,,” I didn’t hear any more because I was travelling too quickly. I jammed my right fore foot into the concrete as I reached the right hand turn into the driving yard, skidded around that and nearly hit the wall at the end of the yard. Fudge stopped me.
“And what the hell do you think you’re doing coming in here at that ridiculous speed?” she asked pleasantly.
“Thought I’d pay you a visit.” I replied.
“ATT forty miles an hour?” Carmen asked.
“No, I’d stay around.” I said.
“What? Around thirty you mean Jinj?” Jingle asked.
“You’re a fine one to talk Jingle! I think you’ve been referred to as “Flying Jingle” haven’t you?” I replied. Jingle smiled at me. I stayed in the driving yard chatting to the occupants. It seemed that Cleo was getting on well with Digby, that Fudge who had recently made her right eye and side of her face sore by rubbing an irritated spot on a wooden post once too often was on the mend, and that Carmen was as nervous as ever, no change there then. Domino tapped me on the shoulder with her nose.
“Jinja, what were you thinking of when you came streaking past me! I mean you didn’t look to see if there was anyone coming out of the riding school did you! I could have been killed! Be careful next time Jinja!” I noticed that there was no mention of my pet name in Domino’s rebuke. By pet name I mean “Jinj’.” Domino strode away with her ears laid back. Dominic thumped me,
“Don’t worry about mum, she’s overdramatic about everything.” He whispered. Domino yelled:
“I heard that Dominic!” Dominic’s response had me laughing so much that I had to lean against Jingle’s shoulder for support! He said sarcastically,
“Oh yeah, how nice for you.” Domino came bulldozing through the yard knocking me flying! Fudge yelled:
“Be careful Domino, Jinja’s,,,” She screamed as I hit the wall! Jingle had also faired badly. I had been leaning on her shoulder. When Domino had come charging through she had knocked Jingle off her feet and now she was lying on the straw with the wind knocked out of her. Domino’s intended target had not received a scratch. Dominic stared at the devastation with horror! What he said was unprintable! But was something like:
“Oh dear! What have I started!” Domino stamped about, on me, tripped over Jingle, and kicked Cleo in her attempt to leave the scene of battle. I lay on the concrete uncertain whether I was going to live or die. Fudge pleaded:
“Don’t give up Jinja!” I moaned with pain! Jingle picked herself up off the straw and came towards me.
“Don’t touch me Jingle!” I pleaded. Jingle’s eyes were full of tears.
“But Jinja, you’re bleeding mate!” she said.
“Get the Manageress Jingle!” I implored. Jingle ran off on her errand while I slipped further and further,,,.
I heard a voice calling me.
“Jinja, Jinja.” It said. I seemed to be floating towards it. Then I blacked out for a while and floated into a world of strange things.
I could see a field of corn.
“I don’t eat corn, I hate the stuff.” I thought. Then I saw a stream, the water seemed clear and invited me to drink. I was thirsty and put my mouth down to it. But the water tasted salty! I spat out the offending liquid and went in search of other thirst quenching things. I found a fruit tree and found also that I could reach the fruit. I reached up and plucked one of the nameless fruit from the branch above my head. This tasted wonderful! But when I tried to take another fruit, the fruit kept swinging out of reach. It was as if whoever or whatever it was was telling me that I couldn’t have any more.
“All right, have it your way.” I thought. I went in search of other horses. I found one other horse. His name was Pippin. Pippin told me that he had been owned by a little boy who had been a wonderful master. But one day Pippin fell ill and died.
“I’ve been here ever since.” Pippin said. Then he said something very strange indeed.
“I believe you’ve got a friend called Rosie?” I jumped!
“You what?” I asked.
“Yes, I remember now, Rosie said she sorely missed someone called Jinja. I asked her who this Jinja person was. Rosie described you. That was how I recognised you. But Rosie’s gone back to Earth.” I thought,
“I must be in heaven or something like it.” I daren’t ask. Pippin and I began to chat about our lives. He told me that he had lived in Norfolk near Norwich. I countered with Suffolk near Wickham Market. Pippin told me that his master had been called Joey. I told him that my owner was called John. And so it went on. We swapped information in that fashion for a good two hours or so I guessed.
I was suddenly plunged into utter blackness! I could hear Pippin shouting to me!
“Jinja! Jinja mate, come back!” I crashed down hard on a metal table, somewhere. I thought:
“I want to see Pippin again!” Someone said,
“Jinja’s going to be all right.” I thought,
“Surely they can’t be talking about me.” I felt a human hand stroking my shoulder. It felt good! Very good! I raised my head and looked the human in the eye.
“And what can I do for you?” I asked. I thought,
“That’s funny, I seem to remember someone like that.” Then someone else said:
“He’s back with us for sure now John.” I asked myself:
“John? John? Who’s John?” I stopped!
“John, my owner! I must be on Earth then!” I thought. I wondered what had happened. Then with a sickening lurch I remembered all! Fudge’s scream still echoed in my ears! I thought,
“Oh Jinja, you’ve really copped it this time.” The human that I thought was John my owner was back. He was stroking me, but he was stroking my nose this time. I tried shifting slightly and was gently restrained by John.
“Hey Jinj’, hey, calm down, don’t move mate.” He said gently. I felt suddenly tearful, very tearful in fact. I sobbed.
“I want to go home.” John said:
“You’ll be home as soon as possible Jinj’.” I let myself relax.
“What was the point of fighting.” I thought. I slept, well, I must have done because I remembered nothing of the journey back to the yard. I woke in my old field, I was lying on clean straw and the sun was shining. I stretched out on the bales feeling better than I had for months.
“No more fast lane.” I thought. But three seconds later I rethought that.
“No, back to the day job!” I thought. I sprang off the straw and ran out of the field. I was stopped by Clover.
“Who? What? Jinja? Is that you Jinj’?” she asked.
“Well, yeah, who else would it be, King Kong?” I replied. Clover started nuzzling me feverishly. Then Rosie and Beyancca saw me and got in on the act. So I was pushed, prodded, shoved and jostled by three horses at once, great experience, not! All right, one, or maybe two horses, but not three! A thing that was meant to be a pleasurable experience turned into a nightmare! I tried telling them that but Rosie, Beyancca and Clover didn’t listen. In the end they stopped their antics and I was allowed to go free. My immediate concern was for Fudge, Jingle and Cleo. I ran towards their street! I arrived at a run to find them peacefully eating straw.
“Jinja!” Jingle whinnied. She hugged me so tightly it hurt! Then it was the turn of Fudge and Cleo to give me the crushing treatment. I desperately wanted life to return to its normal steady rhythm. I didn’t like all this drama. I know it goes on in life but I like a quiet existence now and again. But give me a situation and I’ll be in at the sharp end before you can say knife.
I got my wish of a peaceful life. The events of the past twelve weeks had told me many things. About friendship, hatred, fear and death. It had also taught me to love people every minute of every day and to respect them. I can’t put into words all that I’ve learnt. I haven’t told Rosie about Pippin yet. I don’t know if I ever shall. I think it would frighten her too much.
Domino got a warning from the Manageress about her behaviour and a yelling at from John and the Manageress for putting me in the vet’s place for a third time. I think I’ll stop there. I’ve said enough I think.
Oh, yeah, P.S!
That prison box mentioned earlier. I made that up. It’s fiction all right! I would like to plead with the Manageress not to haul me through the courts over this! Who’s ever sued a horse?
I, MARTIN WILSHER, here by assert and give notice of my right under section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of the foregoing article.
© Copyright Martin Wilsher 1998-2000
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